Who’s Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 


Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 


Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.


Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:

Gedaliah didn’t fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.


I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 


Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur–fasting and atonement. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Countdown To Iran

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Countdown To Iran.”


For two decades the cat and mouse game with Iran’s development of nuclear weapons has gone on while Iran is leading State sponsor of terrorism and one of the worst human rights abusers.  Iran has marched forward with its desire for a global caliphate and has gone on threatening death and destruction in the Middle East and beyond and murdering with impunity. 


Now the end game is almost here…


The U.S. and Israel are committed to preventing Iran’s existential threat and may G-d help us. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

U-Haul Rental Truck Terrorism

u-haul

So true story…

This week I was walking in Downtown, D.C.

I see something strange, not usually there. 

There is a U-Haul van parked in front of the GW University School of Science and Engineering. 

Literally in front of the main doors.

A couple of it’s wheels are actually sloppily on the sidewalk and it is in front of a fire hydrant in front of the very doors to the school.

But that’s not all. 

All around the vehicle are oddly taped on posters as you see above. 

On some of the posters are antagonistic words about DOJ (the Department of Justice) and some even use the word “terrorist.”

Well, after the devastating terror attack in 1995 against the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building with a massive homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck that killed 168 people and wounded almost 700, I decided it’s probably a good idea to call the police. 

In the time that it took them to come, I was able to walk to the market place and to coffee…I know they are busy, but it seemed like forever. 

Finally, two patrol cars pull up…that’s good. 

I go outside to meet them. 

The officer after briefly looking around (and not in) the vehicle looks at me as I walk over to him. 

I said, “I called you about this suspicious vehicle.”

He goes sternly, “Well, what’s suspicious about it?”

I described the obvious…how it was parked with wheels on the sidewalk, at a fire hydrant, right in front of the main doors to the school, and with all those (crazy) posters all around it and uses the word “terrorist”.

Surprisingly to me, the officer responds, “That’s not suspicious!” Then he concedes, “but I will give it a ticket.”

He must’ve seen my face go into this contorted questioning look, but I thought the better of the situation and said with deference to him, “Well Sir, you’re the expert!”

I thank him for coming out and walk away feeling disheartened at this security response just 15 years after 9/11 and when we are still fighting a gruesome war with ISIS and against global terrorism. 

Then just a few days later, look at the article I came across with a homeland security warning:

“ISIS Guide: Rent a U-Haul As A Weapon, Target Thanksgiving Day Parade or Political Rallies.”

In the ISIS instructions, there is a picture of a U-Haul truck with the caption, “An Affordable Weapon” and the statement that “low security” gatherings “are fair game and more devastating to Crusader nations.”

With all due respect for our esteemed law enforcement, perhaps we need to take these terrorist warnings more seriously, and frankly even without the explicit warning, a suspicious U-Haul in downtown DC in front of a major university probably deserves more than just a parking ticket! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What The Pope Knows That Our Leadership Doesn’t

Crushed Trophy.jpeg

In response to the deluge of terrorist attacks across Europe, but also all around the world, culminating this week in the murder of an 85-year old Christian priest in France (his throat was slit in church by ISIS), the pope said the following:

The world is at war, because we have lost the peace.”

But at the same time, our leader is self-congratulating himself, declaring his next in line for the Pennsylvania Avenue throne, and mocking the daily terror threats we face, calling ISIS the “JV [junior varsity] team” declaring them “not an existential threat, and insisting “no boots on the ground.” 

From the attacks on 9/11 to Orlando and Fort Hood, from the attacks on Charlie Hebdo to Paris and Nice, from the multiple attacks on Germany this past week to those in Belgium in March, from the Madrid train bombing in 2004 to the London bombing in 2005, to the daily terrorist attacks throughout the Holy Land of Israel, and the non-stop violent killing of  millions around the Arab countries of the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and beyond, I ask:

Why is the Pope better informed than our leadership, and who will fight for us? 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Refugees or Terrorists–How Do You Really Know?

Jekyll and Hyde

The news about the refugee crisis is truly heartwrenching.  

My own parents and grandparents were refugees from the Holocaust who came to this beautiful country to start fresh and live in freedom and peace.  

So one one hand, I like so many others want to do the right thing from a humanitarian perspective and help people in need.  

But on the other hand, with this new wave of refugees something seems vastly different…


18 of 31 people identified so far in mass New Year’s Eve attacks (sexual molesting, raping, and robbing) of over 500 women in German…were refugees that had already applied for asylum.


At least one of the Paris terrorists who killed more than 130 people in November is alleged to have been a Syrian refugee. 


At least 3 refugees resettled in the U.S. since 9/11 (from Iraq and Uzbek) have been arrested on terrorism charges and there have been dozens of other counter-terrorism investigations for those resettled here. 


– The ISIS suicide bomber that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week was registered as a Syrian refugee “without setting off security alerts.”


– And again this week, a group of refugees with rocks, bats, knives, attack a Frenchman


– ISIS is already asserting that they will use the refugee crisis to get attackers into the West and are bragging that already thousands have successfully infiltrated


Surely, no refugee vetting process is going to be ironclad–processing mistakes, system errors, and errors of judgement are bound to happen.


Some have also suggested that politics is playing a larger role here in wanting to get as many refugees and immigrants as possible into the country for the purpose of simply getting their cold hard votes…so this is a possible darker side of DC. 


In the end, we need to put politics aside, and figure out how do we help those that really need help and are good people seeking to live peacefully and productively among us, and how do we prevent the next wave of terror from some really bad apples? 


Until we can answer this question substantively, and not by an emotional response of it “is just not who we are,” we need to take this one step at a time and not act rashly and recklessly. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Luis C. Araujo)

Conventional “Wisdom” On Terrorism

Conventional Wisdom.jpeg


Define “Terrorism”.


If a Jew/Israeli defends themselves or their ancestral homeland, it’s illegal, deplorable, and will utterly be condemned by the United Nations and in the media. 


If a radical Islamist attacks innocent civilians and commits extreme violent acts, they’re freedom fighters, resisting occupation, or maybe it’s just workplace violence. 


(Source Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Living In The Dark Ages–Of Hate, Violence, and Endless Excuses

Palestinian Terrorists

Despite the enlightenment of everything technology has to offer, we are as a global society, in many senses, living back in the Dark Ages again.


Unbelievable terror and killings have become routine and yet we have become deaf and desensitized to it. 


– Using chemical weapons…what red line? 


– Dropping barrel bombs…heck, at least it’s not more chemical weapons. 


– Besieging of cities…how about a short truce to let in some much needed humanitarian aid?


– Beheadings on YouTube…already so cliche. 


– Burning people alive in cages or crucifying them…grotesque, but what were they doing there anyway? 


– Stoning women for being victims of rape or simply for some trumped up charges…sluts, they must’ve deserved it!


– Mass abductions, selling, enslavement, and gang rape of women and children…nice photo op for Bring Our Daughters Home.


– Raining missiles down on cities and digging terror tunnels under borders…well their aim isn’t so good and the tunnels took them a lot of hard work.


– Bombing and shooting up pizzerias, cafes, clubs, hotels, stores, buses, weddings, funerals, and houses of worship…what can you do–it’s a cycle of violence!


– Hacking off limbs, axing and stabbing attacks… of course, a legitimate airing of grievances.


– Flying airplanes into skyscrapers…it was a plot for the Crusaders to invade our lands.


– Building nukes and other weapons of mass destruction along with ballistic missiles, drones, and suitcase bombs to deliver the payload…well, you can’t put the knowledge back in the bottle!


More excuses from the political peanut gallery:


Are we just war-weary, being lazy, fearful, hiding out and putting our heads in the sand for a while, focused on other pressing domestic issues, pivoting east, in need of a better strategy, rooting for and helping the other (wrong/evil) side, a little delusional as to our own national and homeland security here, or perhaps, have some seriously gone off the (rational) deep end? 


Appeasement, disengagement, and withdrawal…vice leadership.


How do we explain this type of insane, immoral world to our children and is this really the type of sick and treacherous world we want to leave to them?


Oh yes, it’s so comfortable and cushy where we are–there is nothing for us to worry about–or is there? 😉


(Source Photo: Facebook)